For today’s post I am interviewing Auggie Jones, the main character from Holly Schindler’s new MG book THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. I had the pleasure of reading this delightful book and want to share this with Auggie and all the residents of Serendipity Place:
“Auggie’s voice is as original as the sculptures she and Gus create, shining and radiating with love for the people and things in her world. The prose sparkles and lights up each page. This book makes me look at old things in a new way. It makes me want to create something. It’s a winner!”
Hi Auggie. I’m really happy to meet you and excited to hear about your life in Serendipity Place. How long have you lived there?
My whole life! I live in the same house where my mom grew up. I like to run my fingers on the notches my grampa cut in the wall, to mark how tall she was.
I hear you live with your grandpa. What happened to your parents?
My mom’s been gone almost as long as I’ve been alive. She was wild—that’s what everyone says. They also say she’s out there somewhere, shining brighter than any star around—brighter than the ones in the sky or the ones on a movie screen!
Who’s your best friend?
Lexie. She’s got an amazing talent, which I call her “shine.” She can come up with a hundred wild hairdos for her long red hair—braids, up, curls, down, sometimes all at once! Our laughter always sounds like the notes in a piano chord that have to be played at once to sound right…
What’s the funniest thing the two of you did together?
I don’t know if it’s too funny, but we’ve always gone to our “wishing spot” together. It’s really an old billboard, with my mom’s face on it. But since Mom’s shining like a star, it’s always seemed like the most perfect spot to put our own wishes.
The scariest thing that ever happened was when I thought Lexie liked Victoria—a girl at our new school—better than me. For a while, it seemed like that really was true. Victoria’s a junior member of the House Beautification Committee—the same committee that wanted everyone in my neighborhood, Serendipity Place, to clean up their houses. But that’s not ALL the committee wanted. Turned out, that committee wasn’t really on the up and up. I had to show the town who that committee really was. And after a while, Lexie started to realize maybe Victoria wasn’t so great after all.
If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?
Actually, when you say “three things,” it makes me think of the way that when things get rough, or I lose something I love, I tell myself to only miss three things. If I just miss three, it doesn’t hurt so bad. I came up with only three reasons for missing my old school, and even for missing Lexie, when it seemed like she’d decided she liked Victoria better.
What annoying habits does your grandpa Gus have that drives you crazy?
At the beginning of the fifth grade, I was embarrassed by Old Glory, his trash hauling truck. I didn’t want him to pick me up in the afternoons. But now, I love the sight of Old Glory coming up over the hill—it means she’s full of new supplies for us to turn into flowers or figures!
Favorite: Food Butter Brickle Ice Cream (it’s Gus’s favorite, so I love it, too). Color A rainbow! That’s what our shutters look like, now that we’ve painted them with all the half-used paint Gus picks up on trash hauls. Song “This Little Light of Mine”—all I ever wanted was my own shine. Movie Gus and I don’t go to too many movies, actually. When we want to meet new characters, we just make them up ourselves. SubjectMath! Love fractions. I imagine I’m like Gus, fusing them or cutting them apart with his welding torch.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To make the whole town think my house is as beautiful as I do.
The hardest thing in fifth grade waslearning that my neighborhood wasn’t just old—it was poor.
What are your summer plans?
To work on as many new “figures” or sculptures as possible!
Do you have a lucky charm? Is there such a thing as luck?
Lucky is living with Grampa Gus in our house. For a while there, when Lexie was hanging out with Victoria and the House Beautification Committee was sending us fines, I didn’t think it was, so much. But how great is it that I have somebody who’s always helping me make new sculptures?
Are you good at keeping secrets?
Pretty good. I haven’t had to keep too many, though. I’m better at coming up with plans. Chuck, my minister, once told me that you don’t willy-nilly go about changing the world without a plan.
What does Lexie do that makes you mad?
The worst thing Lexie ever did was pretend she couldn’t hear me on the playground once when she was trying to impress Victoria. THAT stung.
What did you do or say that you wish you could take back?
When I told Gus that broken things can’t be fixed—that was before we’d started working on our house. I know it hurt his feelings, the way I talked about old things. Like anything old was worthless. And I’d never hurt Gus’s feelings for the world.
What are you really good at?
Coming up with new ideas. Most of the ideas for figures come from things I’ve seen in Serendipity Place…
If you were packing for a trip and could only bring three things besides clothes, what would you bring?
Weird Harold, Lexie, and Irma Jean. My three closest friends, other than Gus. It’s a given that Gus would be with us…
Who’s the worst kid in fifth grade?
At the beginning of the year, I would have said that Weird Harold really was just a strange conspiracy junkie. And at the beginning of the year, I also would have said that next-door neighbors like Irma Jean were never as interesting as kids who lived a mile away. But now, they’re both two of my closest friends…
What have you done that you feel really good about?
My latest sculpture! Every single one is better than the last. I can’t wait to see what we’re creating in another year!
Where’d you get the name Auggie?
I was named after my grampa. We’re both named August. The names just got shortened down differently. But my middle name is the same as Grampa’s, too! I won’t tell you what it is, though. You’ll have to read THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY to find out!
Thanks Auggie. It’s been great talking to you. I can’t wait to read your story and hear more about your summer.
Additional Info / Links (Includes a Giveaway!):
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.
Auggie Jones lives with her grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” But Auggie is determined to prove that there’s more to her—and to her house—than meets the eye.
What starts out as a home renovation project quickly becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time.
Holly Schindler’s feel-good story about the power one voice can have will inspire readers to speak from their hearts.
“…a heartwarming and uplifting story…[that] shines…with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Axioms like ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ come gracefully to life in Schindler’s tale about the value of hard work and the power of community…Auggie’s enthusiasm and unbridled creativity are infectious, and likeminded readers will envy her creative partnership with [her grandfather] Gus.” – Publishers Weekly
Author site: hollyschindler.com
Site for young readers: Holly Schindler’s Middles – hollyschindlermiddles.weebly.com. I’m especially excited about this site. I adored getting to interact with the YA readership online—usually through Twitter or FB. But I had to create a site where I could interact with the MG readership. I’m devoting a page on the site to reviews from young readers themselves! Be sure to send your young reader’s review through the Contact Me page.
Group Author Blogs: YA Outside the Lines (yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com) for YA authors and Smack Dab in the Middle (smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com) for MG authors.
THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY Trailer:
Code for the Rafflecopter Giveaway, running Feb. 2-9:
<a id=”rc-69914c11″ class=”rafl” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/69914c11/” rel=”nofollow”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
Please link to the next stop on the tour:
The Mod Podge Bookshelf: http://themodpodgebookshelf.blogspot.com/ (This stop is scheduled for Feb. 2.)
The next stop on the tour is: Gabrielle / The Mod Podge Bookshelf: http://themodpodgebookshelf.blogspot.com/